Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I wanted to get some “big” entries done over the holidays, after I’d finished doing the last few incidental illustrations for issue 4 of my comic, and printed it, of course.

Except, I go back to work tomorrow and have not yet put physical pencil to physical paper. The cover date on the comic, when it eventually gets finished (hopefully before my birthday, at the end of June), is getting a little silly, too:


Anyway, that’s enough about that. More important is this CD that I got at the end of October:


What’s better than a double-disc compilation album of 50’s Rockabilly? One that’s ALL CAR SONGS


Well okay, there’s a few bike songs, too. Available from Fopp’s bargain section now!


Little Downham Byegones and Organs fair, 29th March 2014


I remember going to this event a few times as a young child (when the car-trailer-sized mechanical organs seemed like gigantic towering machinery), then didn’t for years and years. As my interest in classic cars, steam engines and patriotism increased, the more annoyed I got with myself for always forgetting this (only remembering as I drove past it, on the way to some other place).

More recently, I got involved in an international group of friends called The Regular Sweets, and we make collaborative and individual videos about our lives, and where we come from (and, less recently, I started this blog XD). This event was perfect material for that, so off I wandered!

Agricultural engine “Success”

I actually thought there would be more steam engines than there was, and there was only one “full size” one (unless you count the steam car that was also there). I also thought there would be steam engines powering the mechanical organs, but actually they were just run on electrically-generated compressed air instead.

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And an information board about the engine. Interesting to see it was built in 1914. 1914 is quite “in the culture” at the moment, as it’s now 100 years on from World War 1. Much is made of the “modern warfare” aspects of that conflict – the aircraft, tanks, machine guns etc. But in everyday life there was still plenty that was driven by “Victorian” technology! These traction engines in particular would drive from farm to farm (very slowly), and would then stay still, using their engines to push and pull machinery such as ploughs up and down fields with pulleys.


Other steam engines

There was also a couple of mini traction engines, though one of them had two seats and was being driven around. Steam has incredible torque, you know. At one point they put it into reverse and just instantly went backwards, no need to stop first XD.

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And then there was this “Lykamobile”. It looks like a Victorian car, but has modern “59” (that’s late 2009, not 1959) numberplates. I thought it might be electric, as I think the safety regulations are a lot more lax for electric cars (mainly so the G-Wiz could be sold here, though a reproduced original Mini couldn’t). But actually it’s steam powered! It can also be bought and built in kit-car form, meaning you could have a steam car of your very own! (With a lot of money and assembly time, anyway).


More classic commercials

A Ford Escort van, Morris Minor van and Commer van. Last time I went to this show properly, probably 2005-or-so, there was a Morris Minor van for sale, which needed quite a bit of restoration. I wonder if this is the same one, newly finished?



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Also, an old military ambulance, based on a Land Rover. It won’t be from during the war, but is probably from not long after it.

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Classic cars

There was quite a few, and quite a variety, of classic cars there. Though there was also several Morris Minors, two very similar Rover P4’s, and even a couple of 50’s Vauxhalls of the same family!

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Morris Oxford estate, and 2CV-based kit.

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Big green Austin, of some kind, with military markings.

Here’s some immaculate Rover P4’s, and a Morris Minor. Just the sort of scene you might have seen on a hastily-converted “bomb site” city-centre car park, circa 1959.

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MKII Lotus Cortina, but not in the famous Lotus colours.

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Vauxhall Cresta from 1955. I think this was before the “P series” Crestas, which started from the PA Cresta, which looked like a 57 Chevy, or something.

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A Swift… *squiiint*… F Type?

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Morris Minor Travellers.


Something from the Rootes group; Singer / Sunbeam / Hillman etc.


The cooler Lotus Cortina. I once saw a fake one for sale, based on a normal 2-door Cortina that had had a ‘modern’ (well, 80’s) 2-litre Capri engine chucked in. Wish I’d bought it!


Morris Six


Can’t remember what this was

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Vauxhall Velox, a lower “trim level” than the Cresta.


Austin Cambridge, basically the same as the Morris Oxford from above.


There wasn’t that many bikes, of the motor or pedal kind XD. And they were all kind of crammed away behind the mechanical organs.



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The best one, late 20’s / early 30’s mean machine.


A pedal bike based on a post office motorbike, from the 40’s

Tractors and Stationary engines

There was plenty of non-steam farm equipment too, mainly old tractors and a bunch of small stationary engines (internal combustion). Most of the latter were running, and backfiring like mad. They were all pretty crudely built, some just had a big hole for an exhaust pipe. I loved the smell!

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Rat tractors!



Mechanical Organs

These are one of the main attractions of the show. They have a lot of wind-pipes like a church organ (though with a different, less sombre tone), mechanical drums, bells and other tinkling bits. Some even have animated figures that move! In Victorian times, they were controlled by long strips of paper, card or punched wooden sheets with holes in, or else revolving drums with spines on. All these systems activated ‘switches’, or valves for air pressure, as they moved – making them an early ancestor of computer programming. I don’t know if the organs there that day were Victorian survivors, newly-built, or maybe restored old ones which have been installed in modern trailers.

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Fenlander II

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Los Tubos… this one had quite a different tone to the others.


Inside the village hall, there was a number of displays of interesting old things. There was also a number of barrel organs and smaller mechanical organs, though I forgot to take pictures of most of them.


Small piano thing, on a table of assorted bits and bobs


Matchboxes… surprising to see how old some brands (like Spar) actually are!


Old car ornaments


Cans for petrol and oil


Toy cars


Farm tools


Ice skates.

Somebody at my work does something called “fen skating”, where they wait for areas of fenland to get slightly flooded in winter, and then freeze. If you get enough rain, followed by low enough temperatures, you could skate for miles, in and out of trees, over fences and so on.


Childcare / midwifery table


Magic lanterns

Magic Lanterns were the “TV” or “Cinema” of the day, with several projected pictures over one another giving the illustion of movement, for instance a scene of a fire with ‘moving flames’, or a ship with the sails dropping. This one would probably have been extremely expensive.


More modern video equipment, including a 60’s cine-camera and 80’s video camera, which you actually put VHS tapes directly into!

Heh, I mentioned seeing somebody with an even bigger VHS video camera at a school sports day in about 1991, my mum had his name instantly. She never forgets the “insult” of somebody conspicuously-consuming, evidently.

Barrel / Smaller Mechanical Organs


One “played” by an animatronic clown. There was actually another one being played by a teddy bear, but I forgot to take a photo.

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Other ones

The event was pretty cool in all, though not very big (I’m sure there used to be another event in the village that was in both the village hall car park, park car park, and school playground, with all sorts of events and displays). But it did put me in the way of knowing that there’s a much bigger steam engine / classic car show in Haddenham in September, which ought to be worth seeing (well, if I’m here in September, anyway). There’s also a place called Prickwillow Engine Museum, with displays of steam and diesel engines which used to be used to drain the fens. That might even be worth a “dashcam” cycle trip to!

Who remembers these?


They were a band and a half weren’t they?


Oh yeah I also got a cable to connect my new phone to the computer. So now I can present the new and correctly spelled (well actually I might have got the second character of Lord Haw Haw’s name wrong) sign that I’d put up if I ever end up running a pub in Japan:


One who has a door behind him and is shown out of it.

Though of course I’m actually going to be a McEnglish McTeacher and then end up as a bland Salaryman. I’m under no illusions as to the spartan and difficult existence I’ll lead in a completely different country many thousands of miles away. But we can’t help who we fall in love with. And I’ll never ever have any truck with commie shitstabbers like Mr Potato Head and the day I do is the day I lose a game of chicken with the Yamanote Line.

Oh and of course I’ll still have a subscription to DC Thomson’s Commando comic, draw jingoistic British Adventure comics, drive elderly, noisy and unsafe cars and bring any children we may have up on a diet of Sexton Blake, Billy Bunter and Sapper. AND listen to Saxon because they’re wicked.


The cable also means I can spam a whole 3 pictures of my cat.

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Not amused.


I’ve got a busy weekend ahead. On Saturday it’s either Classic VW’s or Retro Drag Racing at Santa Pod. Either way there will be wicked pictures. On Sunday I’m going to be VIP guest of the Honda team at the British Superbikes. Like ya do.


Oh and I’m thinking of writing a 2011 version of “Glad to be gay” that laments the current state of Broken Britain , a land full of quotas and history months, that will contain the line “I can’t help but think that it’s… kind of our fault”.

Dream machines

That Doctor Who Anime has been deleted from Youtube! And so have the trailers, so it’s likely that the BBC/Terry Nation estate asked for it to be taken down. Though hopefully only so they can employ the bloke themselves to turn it into a full and epic episode!

Let’s face it “Doctor Who Anime” is an idea that writes itself, so it will inevitably be done one day. However it’s likely that if it was done “normally” it would be done with un-detailed, cheap and crude animation, and probably be farmed out to some yank outfit with no knowledge/respect for the source material. The fact a fan-made movie “got in first” and is absolutely awesome will have put them on the back foot!

Anyway it is, for now, still viewable. Though I won’t say how.

Metatube. Free Music Zilla. Still works, With, Download it, On.

Ooops a random series of words appears to have been typed by my cat walking over the keyboard. Luckily they have no relevance to anything.



It’s my old bike!!


It’s still got a Jurassic Park sticker on it and everything!!

From the dream machine of my childhood to the one of my adulthood:


I didn’t blur the plate, the camera is just that bad

I don’t own one of these and as I want to emigrate to Japan probably never will! The sacrifices we make for love, eh? Of course my “wanted car” often revolves around a lot. In recent times it’s been a ‘rat look’ Volvo 240 saloon (proper rat look not chav rat look, which is one rusty panel and a load of stickers). Then a ’48 Chevy Fleetline Coupe, A ’54 Cadillac, A Deuce kit car (also a rat-look rod!), A Split-Screen Morris Minor and an Austin Seven. But the Capri is always number 1!

Tomorrow’s World Magazine – November 1998

I stumbled upon this while I was takling crap out of my room and then moving it back recently.


This will be fun!

 We start with several pages of short stories about scientific developments…


Using Hydrogen Peroxide to fuel cars? Well you certainly get a lot of bang for yer buck with that stuff. In fact the Russian Navy used it to fuel torpedoes and it’s not like they suffered any severe submarine disasters in 2000.


Is this the first news of what eventually became Blu-ray? Also that “CD and DVD combined!” thing sounds a bit Betamax to me. Apparently (according to another article) the discs and players went on sale in Japan in late 98/early 99. I wonder how many they sold?


A radio the size of a VCR, every home should have one

Digital radio? Only £800? Sounds alright to me! (Actually come to think of it, aren’t digital radios still fairly expensive even though basic Freeview boxes are virtually nothing?)


Night vision HUD’s in cars! May it never become acceptable. A few car manufacturers seem to be insisting we need HUD displays as they’re “safer”. Said manufacturers also seem intent on putting the instruments in the middle of the car rather than in front of the driver to save a few quid. If they put them in the correct place we wouldn’t need some distracting, stupid, showy HUD. If I’m ever forced into owning a car with one it’ll get some black tape over the projector before I’m a mile down the road.


In those days where 56k was fast and “Dual V90” (did that actually make any difference?) was reckless extravagance, 80gb a second must have seemed like science fiction. Mind you the web was tailored to dial-up then so I don’t suppose there was much you could have downloaded with a connection that fast… maybe all of Napster?


Haha, the phone is bigger than the pint!

I wonder what the policy in this pub is today? Oh yeah it’s probably gone bust and closed like the thousands of others that have been swept away by the blanket smoking ban “to protect staff”. Welcome to the dole qeue, protected staff!


What could go wrong?

Did this bloke ever…

-Finish his submarine?

-Sail it down the Thames as 1999 turned into 2000?

-Find a passenger?


Now here’s something that has taken off, powering cars with chip fat! Apparently conversions of diesels are getting more and more common and you can use 2500 litres before paying fuel duty.


The 90’s was a very bland decade for cars and this page shows it! Mind you the S-Type proved to be a “grower”. It doesn’t help that the photo here is about the worst possible angle to see it from. Apparently there was also a waiting list for Audi TT’s! Who the hell would want one that much? That’d be like, I don’t know, lining up outside a shop for the newest iPad, who would do that?

Oh yeah, Audi TT owners.


Almost seems hard to believe that the true Mini was still on sale then, and the BMW 0.5 series was still on the drawing board. Of course if I had my way manufacturers would be allowed to produce “limited runs” (250,000 a year) of “dangerous cars” such as proper Minis and Morris Minors “for the enthusiast market”. If they were on sale, I suspect the “enthusiast market” would be rather bigger!

Also we see that Fiat. Apparently the styling was necessary to make a 6-seater in that size. Not for long it wasn’t!


And here’s a terrifying look at the creeping influence of “self drive” cars. Presented (as always) as a labour saving device. One day all the cars that are in use will be fitted with shit like this. And on that day I’ll bike.


Lol fatties

An article about the oncoming obesity epidemic. As this was 1998 it was still OK to blame the fat bastards for eating too much and sitting around all the time. Of course such a position is unacceptable today, the poor little bloaters are “food addicts” and need our help.

A wise man once said that people ought to be judged “on the content of their character”. He didn’t forsee a society in which every character flaw is explained away by vague references to tragic circumstances or psychology. Psychology being, of course, based on the opinions of various dead people and thus making as much sense as entrail reading.


Who remembers these things? Did people actually used to always use their “30 days of free internet” (NB: Apart from the call charges, which are astronomical) and then get another CD and have another 30 days? Sounds like far too much hassle even for 1998. Or maybe that’s because my memories of early internet connecting involve my dad standing over me, reading out the terms and conditions and what to type, breathing out heavily at the end of every sentence, and then telling us not to actually use the internet once we’d got it working.


An article on shopping in the future. With surprisingly little reference made to the internet. However there is mention of “interactive digital TV services” being used to “mail order” things from an “electronic catalogue”. Just like, erm, the internet.

The article also mentions the famous vending machines of Japan and speculates that soon they will “come to Britain’s streets”. Of course street vending machines have been around in Japan for bloody ages and they couldn’t possibly “come to Britain’s streets” because the filthy, savage underclass who just see what they want and take it would have them away in five minutes.

Of course it needn’t be like that. If only we had measures to end this culture of selfish entitlement… measure such as, say, more police, punishments that are actually a deterrent and more prisons. Apparently Britain has the biggest prison population in Europe… and? It’s obviously still not enough. More cells, harsher regimes and running jails for profit ought to see us right.



The Millenium Bug. Lol.


“Gadgets that never caught on” have their famous fallers, such as Betamax. Then there’s the things that were so obscure nobody even remembers them , such as these web phones. Computers, even basic ones, were still very expensive back then (we got our first one about 6 months later and it was around 2 grand) but everybody wanted the internet. So they were willing to pay for these phones or “web TV” as a quick and dirty way of getting connected.

BUT more interesting than that is the name of this phone’s competitor! Even the case of the letters is the same!


MP3 Players, “giving the record companies the jitters” apparently. Yeah I, too, remember the great music crash of 2001 where all the major music companies collapsed one after the other. It was just like the other music crash in 1991 bought on by tape recorders, and the movie crash of 1988 bought on by VCR’s… oh, wait.

Also LOL at the proud statement that MP3 players are “truly shockproof” because there’s no disk to skip. After 10+ years of MP3 player dominance it’s hard to even remember such a problem existed.


A PLASMA TV! That’s amazing, Plasma is like stuff they have in science fiction, such as “Colony Wars”, which is more powerful than lasers. And they’re making TV’s that run on this shit! Yours for thirteen grand, my good man.


Growing organs and limbs in the laboratory using “stem cells”! What an amazing technology! This will make our crappy, dangerous practices such as transplants a thing of the past! (Seriously, I’d rather die than have to put up with the immune-system-smashing anti rejection drugs, it’s like deliberate HIV). What could possibly go wrong?

Oh yeah, spear-chucking under-savage scum-vermin protesters trying to hold back the progress of medical science.


That Mars Rover that was sending it’s pictures to… THE INTERNET!! was big news then.




A gadget review page. And what do we have here? A digital camera that takes Video and Photos! Hey, wait, you say, how much video could a digital camera record back then? 2 minutes? Well this thing apparently uses some sort of bespoke tape that’s “about the size of a printer cartridge”. Once you’ve filled it you have to connect the camera to a normal camcorder or a VCR and copy the footage over. I can’t think why this didn’t catch on!

There’s also a Minidisc player (“The replacement for CD’s!” … for about a week). My friend had this exact model at school… paying nigh-on £300 for a paperweight. Lol. That said my Rio PMP300 was about that much and could store all of 9 tracks in ‘reasonable’ quality.

There’s also some Lie detector software (apparently you have to actually phone up the company and promise not to use it for bad purposes before they will give you the install code!) and some binoculars which have a GPS unit that shows what direction you are looking in. I suppose orienteerers use things like that.


Haha, remember the term “surfing”? It’s possibly even more cheesy than “Information Superhighway”.

Reviews of ISP’s, once again there’s some “free” internet services. Though of course with “free” service comes a lack of support for the “lightning fast” 56k. Of course most ISP’s got you to pay monthly, pay a “connection fee” and pay for the phone calls… why did people put up with this shit?

There’s also the launch of BT’s own internet service, which has the advantage of being added directly to the phone bill and, because it’s run by the phone company, a lot cheaper. Apparently other ISP’s were actually complaining about it! Maybe they shouldn’t have been charging funny money for “free”, and slow, services and cutting people off for using “too much” of their “unlimited” internet, eh?

Oh the page also includes a few free email (“one of the greatest pleasures of being online” apparently) providers. One of them being rated higher because you can choose from “some great domain names” for your email address, such as and Cyber Dude??


Reviews of scooters. The venerable Honda C90 (are they still being made? Or have they been abandoned because of “envrionmental” (actually greenhouse emissions from comparably-sized petrol engines have barely changed in a century) and “safety” (it’s a frigging scooter!) concerns? Wouldn’t surprise me.) gets a predictably low rating. I know which one I’d have! …in fact, Dad does have one! I ought to get it out.


Videogame reviews! Including Rainbow Six, Final Fantasy VII, Banjo Kazooie and Red Alert: Retaliation. They give the latter a bad review but I personally loved it.


Some website reviews, including one for the Tizer Ice website. Remember that? It was supposed to “taste like it’s cold” even when it wasn’t. In fact it tasted like a mouthful of evaporating 70% ethanol without the fun effects.


Come on, how could you NOT trust an ISP with such a well-designed advert?


Apple was “on the brink of death”? Quick, somebody zip back in time and tell Steve Jobs to end it all. Mind you considering that Apple are basically another Microsoft these days their “hippie spirit” died in, er, 1998.


An interview with Richard Dawkins. He confesses he doesn’t know what a Minidisc is… don’t worry, it’s not that important XD. Also the eccentric professor prefers to use “a diary on the computer” rather than a Filofax or PDA. What a crazy guy!